We’ve gotten together before, on this blog site, to mutually marvel at the impact of original vintage poster art with a Surrealist twist, as an ardent exponent of some of the most incisive reflections upon the subject and lifeline of dynamic power. Here the difference can be summed up in two words, Jonathan Glazer.
Glazer can be described in many ways—rock video writer/director; writer/director of superb graphic art-based TV ads; pop music expert/historian; feature filmmaker (with a graphic arts priority). But the heart of his activities, it seems to me, is recycling the high tide of Surrealist excitement, from the early and mid-twentieth century. “Recycling” might seem a boring notion—but not the way he does it!
Pictured here from Glazer’s film, Sexy Beast (2000), is a boulder having fallen into the swimming pool of a couple, Gal and Dee Dee, living the soft life on Spain’s Costa del Sol.
Pictured here is the prototype of that film image, Rene Magritte’s “The Birthday”( 1953). We’ve enjoyed it many times on its own, it being fortunately in the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Magritte, like all of his compatriots, was about that mysterious “more” (the “sur” of “surreal”); and his painting of the boulder gives us to understand that a tidy bourgeois setting is essentially haunted by an untidy, perilous dimension of energy.
Sexy Beast does remarkably more than merely register a weighty addition to mundane existence. It zeros in on the two protagonists as pushed to new limits of that configuration of Beauty and Beast which haunts the Surrealist endeavor. In doing so it accomplishes that amazing feat of illuminating a hitherto unapproached breakthrough to vivacious delight.
In Glazer’s recent film, Under the Skin (2014), the Beauty and Beast confluence is tackled once again. In both cases, the warming change is very short-lived, the essence of such reflections not lending itself to safe turnarounds.
Cappiello’s Green Devil puts in a cameo appearance(in Sexy Beast) with characteristically divided impacts. It graces a deluxe restaurant where an interview takes place, a moment calling for daring and wit. It also becomes the model for a nightmare involving the slippage of nerve of the very divided Beast, named Gal.
D. H. Evans Fashion Wise 1950s;Arpad Elfer;30″ x 40″;A-, Silkscreen
Glazer shows us how much life is left in the graphic rampage in Surrealist advertising. This inspired work has the markings of Beauty and Beast “light my fire” all over it!
La Belle et la Bete c. 1950 Jean Denis Malcles;63″ x 47″;A, L
A piece de resistance encompassing not only amazing graphic design but also film design that still rocks, namely Jean Cocteau’s 1949 classic vintage poster, La Belle et La Bête.
Krechinsky’s Wedding 1966Leningrad State Theatre of Comedy
A.;38 ½ “ x 26 ¾ “;A, L
The expanses of saturated color fields here bring to mind the eerie killing field where the Siren works, in a fascinatingly half-hearted way, in Under the Skin.
Graphic Design Today 1990;Kazumasa Nagai;41″ x 29″;A, P
The title of this eerie design by Kazumasa Nagai is “Graphic Design Today.” It’s “today” in its not glossing over the deadly abysses of venturesome heart.